adult children of alcoholics

4 Common Personality Traits in Adult Children of Alcoholics

Screaming, yelling, and fighting.

Imagine waking up in the morning to the sound of your parents fighting. Not just arguing, but screaming, shouting, and maybe even throwing things.

Not sure what’s going on, you stumble downstairs to find out what’s wrong. Peering over the staircase, you can barely make out what your parents are saying. But you know whatever is going on must be serious. Afraid you might be in trouble yourself, you decide to skip breakfast and hide out in your room.

Being the Child of an Alcoholic

Children of alcoholics live in a strange reality. One minute everything is calm and serene. Then suddenly, without warning, a crisis erupts in their living room. The endless cycle of drama and pseudo-resolution may even continue into adulthood.

If you or a loved one is the child of an alcoholic, you’re not alone. Almost 28 million children in the U.S. are currently living with an alcoholic parent.

While we can’t change the past, learning from it can help us reshape our future. Read on to learn more about the personality traits that are common among children from alcoholic households.

Tips for Children of Alcoholics

Before you start reviewing the ways alcoholism impacts children, you’ll want to prepare yourself for what you might be feeling.

It’s normal for survivors of alcoholism to want to defend their parents, especially given the ways that alcoholism has shaped their lives. It’s also natural to feel anger, sadness, and even guilt.

We suggest that you write down any negative judgments that arise, whether they are against yourself or another individual, as you learn about the damage alcohol can cause. Research shows that writing down how you feel helps you process your feelings. You don’t have to read them, just write them down to get them out of your head.

Once you’re in the right headspace, you’re ready to begin looking at some of the darkest parts of alcoholism and the way you or another child might react to them.

1. Children of Alcoholics Expect Excitement

Constant crises and daily dramas can cause children of alcoholics to expect life to be tense. This is because their experience has shown them that anything can go wrong, at any time. As they grow familiar with feelings of panic or fear, they start to expect them all the time.

Usually, when we think of something as exciting, we think of it as fun. However, this type of excitement refers to a more scary feeling stemming from fear.

Rather than feeling joyfully excited, children of alcoholics often feel fearfully excited.

Then, once they become adults, their minds stay stuck in crisis mode. This chaotic outlook on life usually continues in their own lives until they unlearn it.

2. Children of Alcoholics Often Experience Insecure Attachment

During early childhood, it’s important for kids to feel secure. It’s during this time of their life that the groundwork is being laid for how they will function as adults.

Insecure attachment is one consequence of an unstable, alcoholic household. It is often characterized by the need for things to be surprising or different. However, things don’t necessarily have to be exciting (scary or adrenaline-fueled) for an insecure attachment to form in children of alcoholics.

Children of alcoholics may feel that a crisis must always be present in their lives because it is all they have ever known to be true. For instance, adult children of alcoholics might seek out unstable relationships, jobs, and financial situations.

This is because people who struggle with an unhealthy attachment to instability are also prone to behaviors like self-sabotage. As fear and doubt creep in about their future, they’ll feel a familiar sense of panic.

Of course, insecure attachment is subliminal behavior. In their own minds, adult children of alcoholics are doing everything possible to be happy. It just so happens that being unhappy is more comfortable and familiar.

3. Children of Alcoholics Are Susceptible to Addiction

Another problem that adult children of alcoholics face is the potential for substance abuse and addiction. The combination of genetics and experiences cause these individuals to have a higher probability of struggling with addiction than the average person.

Studies show that when a parent abuses alcohol before conception, their child is more likely to also have addiction problems. In fact, genetics can increase the risk of having addiction by 40 to 60 percent— or more, in some cases.

4. Children of Alcoholics Are Overwhelmed by Emotions

Alcoholic parents aren’t as emotionally available to their children as they should be. Moreover, children may witness their alcoholic parents behaving wildly during active addiction.

While they may think, “I will never act that way,” they are unconsciously learning from their addicted parents. Many adult children experience feelings of disgust when they notice any extreme similarities between their and their addicted parents’ behavior.

Unregulated emotions and feelings of self-hatred can lead to the development of serious mental health issues, like depression. They can also cause high levels of anxiety, anger, and other negative emotions.

Dealing with Adulthood as the Child of an Alcoholic

Children of alcoholics tend to also struggle with small setbacks in their plans. This makes personal relationships and self-discipline especially challenging to maintain.

They may find themselves yelling at their partner for being a few minutes late to a date. They may overly criticize themselves for not being able to complete a personal goal. For these individuals, even being stuck in traffic can feel like a reason to hate themselves— or others.

The Addiction Treatment Services blog provides reliable information to help families recover from addiction. Knowledge and communication are the keys to healing, and being whole again.

Do you know someone who might be struggling with alcoholism? There are things you can do to help without putting yourself at risk. Check out our latest article about how to hold an alcohol intervention.

For any additional information about alcohol detox and treatment options, contact us here or call us at (877) 455-0055.

Dad & Son-Alcohol Awareness Month-Battling Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol Awareness Month: Battling Addiction And Regaining Control

Dad & Son-Alcohol Awareness Month-Battling Alcohol AddictionIt’s rare to find someone whose life hasn’t been affected by alcoholism in one way or another. Whether it’s a spouse, sibling, friend or coworker, most people have been impacted by the world’s most commonly-used addictive substance.

Alcohol Abuse Affects So Many Of Us

Did you know that one out of 12 Americans suffers from some form of alcohol abuse? That’s over 17 million people in the United States alone. Statistics indicate that half of all adults in the United States have a family history of alcoholism, and over 7 million children are growing up in homes where alcoholism is present.

When you consider the far reaching, societal ramifications of the family disease of alcoholism, it’s no wonder that Alcohol Awareness Month has grown significantly since it was founded in 1987 by the National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence (NCADD.)

Originally created to help reduce the shame and stigma associated with alcoholism, the NCADD encourages communities to inform and educate the public about the chronic and progressive nature of the disease of alcoholism and to carry the message of hope and recovery. Millions of Americans are living sober lives in recovery and loving life free from the chains of addiction.

Battling Alcohol Addiction And Regaining Control

The problem of alcoholism is that it often sneaks up on individuals. What begins as a drink or two at parties can quickly turn into a daily habit that involves consuming more and more. Over time, the impact can be extensive – from damaged relationships and difficulties at work to health issues and even serious legal problems. Unfortunately, the grip of addiction is strong, and few are actually able to overcome alcohol abuse and addiction without help.

For those who are in denial, a professional intervention is often the first step in the journey of recovery. This is when loved ones, friends and even colleagues can help the individual better understand the ramifications of their problem. Often this is enough to get the wheels turning that lead to treatment and recovery.

Getting Professional Treatment For Alcoholism

Holding Hands-Professional Treatment For Alcoholism

Help is available. Whether you or a loved one needs assistance with an alcohol problem, this fact is very important. No one has to battle alcoholism alone. Customized alcohol addiction treatment services offer a chance for a lasting recovery. By addressing an individual’s unique needs, causes of addiction and triggers, this form of treatment offers support and care that is greatly beneficial.

Make Alcohol Awareness Month the month that you make a real difference in your life or that of someone else that is struggling with alcohol. It is literally the gift of life!

Call us now to learn more about a professional intervention or customized addiction treatment services.

Help us spread the awareness of alcohol addiction during Alcohol Awareness Month, and beyond. – Share this article with any of your friends, family or colleagues that may be struggling or know someone who is.


Young People Who Witness Substance Abuse More Likely to Engage in Antisocial Behavior

devpsychpathA new study of a group of teenagers found that they were much more likely to participate in destructive actions on the days when they witness substance abuse. While it has been known that active substance abuse occurring in the environment of young people can have a negative impact on their lives, this is perhaps the first set of data that was able to look at specific actions and record the evidence more precisely and efficiently.

“Past research has shown that children who grow up in families, schools and neighborhoods where alcohol and drugs are frequently used are at risk for behavioral problems later in life, but our findings demonstrate that these effects are immediate,” said Candice Odgers, associate professor in Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy and associate director of the Duke Center for Child and Family Policy.

The full results of the study appear in the journal Development and Psychopathology. One of the interesting things about this particular study is how they collected the data – via mobile devices. Rather than doing and end-of-the-day recap like other similar research, they were able to have the adolescents record their thoughts, actions and events real time via their cell phones.

It was also noted that teens with the genotype most common for ADHD diagnosis were more susceptible to acting out following the influence. Impulsivity combined with the exposure made for a difficult situation for these kids to deal with, resulting in the antisocial behavior.

“A series of studies has shown that consuming alcohol before age 15 predicts a wide range of later problems including substance dependency, involvement in criminal behavior and health problems. Our findings suggest that we may also need to prevent exposure to others using substances during this period,” Odgers said.

If you or a loved one are struggling with alcohol abuse or alcoholism, Addiction Treatment Services can help you find the best possible treatment. For more information, contact us.

Underage Drinking Affected by Alcohol Use in Films

pediatricsjournalA recent study conducted in England showed that adolescents exposed frequently to alcohol in movies were more likely to engage in drinking at a young age. The research indicated that children who watch films that portray alcohol use are more likely to not only have tried alcohol but to also engage in binge drinking.

Underage drinking and risky behavior associated with drinking alcohol continues to be a problem in the United States and other areas. This study may point to at least one reason why it is such a difficult problem to handle. Researchers in England referenced studies conducted in the U.S. as well, to prove that the amount of alcohol consumed by characters and how the effects of alcohol are portrayed in movies may be detrimental to youth around the world.

In order to conduct the study, researcher provided 5,000 adolescents with a computerized survey. The survey asked the children to indicate whether they watched certain movies out of a list of popular films. Researchers had previously measured the amount of time (in minutes) alcohol and drinking was present in each movie. By the end of the survey, the research team was able to calculate, in minutes, the amount of time the children had been exposed to alcohol usage or abuse in films. In addition to the movie questions, the children were also asked questions about their drug and alcohol intake.

It was discovered that the children who reported over an hour of exposure to alcohol and scenes that portrayed drinking were twenty percent more likely to engage in drinking activities than the children who had seen the least amount of alcohol in movies. The results from the study directly correlate with similar studies conducted in the U.S. and other countries.

While pop culture itself cannot be entirely blamed for the behaviors of adolescents and young adults, there is plenty of evidence to support the effect it does have on the population. Perhaps more artists can take that into account of what messages they are sending, intentionally or otherwise, and more parents can try to monitor the content their children are exposed to.

“The important thing is education – alcohol is a drug and can have adverse effects on the lives, not only of the people who drink but also on their families and society: people need to be aware of the adverse effects of irresponsible alcohol use and of the fact that it could ‘happen to them,’” commented Andrea Waylen of the School of Oral and Dental Sciences. The study itself was published in the journal Pediatrics.

If you suspect that your child is engaging in underaged drinking, contact us for more information about staging an intervention and finding the right treatment.

Observing Alcohol Awareness Month in April

Held every April, Alcohol Awareness Month was founded by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) to spread awareness and end the stigma associated with alcoholism that sometimes prevents individuals and their families from seeking help.

The theme of this, the 27th NCADD Alcohol Awareness Month, is “Help for Today. Hope for Tomorrow.” According to the NCADD, this year’s theme is intended to “draw attention to the pervasive impact that alcohol, alcohol-related problems and alcoholism have on young people, their friends, on families and in our communities.”

In the spirit of the NCADD’s goal of awareness and education, here are some facts you may not know about alcoholism:

– The economic cost of alcoholism and alcohol abuse has recently been estimated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to be $223.5 billion. That’s $746 per person or about $1.90 per drink.
– 75% of domestic abuse is committed while one or both members are intoxicated and family members utilize health care twice as much as families without alcohol problems.
– Drinking and driving causes 16,000 deaths per year, and thousands more injuries.
– Up to 75% of crimes are committed by people under the influence of alcohol.
– Teens that experiment with alcohol before age 15 are four times more likely to become alcohol dependent when they are older when compared with those who wait until age 20.
– More than 8.5% of Americans suffer from alcohol dependency, and 25% of U.S. children have been exposed to alcohol-use disorders in their family.

Although statistics can sometimes be dull, the fact is that alcoholism is everywhere. It is a disease that changes the way the body functions. By reducing the stigma that obscures our perspective of alcoholism, maybe we can cause a shift that will lead to more treatment and less abuse in the U.S.

Alcohol Awareness Month will be filled with activities on local, state, and national levels. These events are sponsored by local NCADD Affiliates as well as schools, colleges, churches, and community organizations. Click here to find the event near you and here for alcohol intervention help.

David Cassidy Ordered to 90 Days in Treatment

davidcassidySinger David Cassidy was ordered to three months of inpatient treatment for alcoholism after pleading no contest for his latest DUI. The arrest occurred back in January, which was his third arrest for DUI in the last three years, and second within six months.

The former teen idol from the 70’s has had his troubles over time, and his manager had reportedly said that he had recently completed a treatment program. Hopefully this time a longer-term program will prove to be more successful for Cassidy.

Some states have much more harsh DUI laws, such as Florida that have a mandatory 10-year drivers license revocation for three convictions in 10 years. In California, there are different penalties for either taking or not taking the blood alcohol content test, as well as for subsequent offenses. Cassidy reportedly had a blood-alcohol level of .19, which is more than twice the legal limit.

His manager’s statements to CNN following the arrest indicated that Cassidy was stressed after having to appear in a different court case. This defense isn’t an excuse, as everyone deals with stressful situations, and it shouldn’t be used as a reason for endangering lives.

Detox and a good, long-term treatment program can help a willing participant to no longer be affected by everyday stressful situations, or at least how to deal with them properly so they do not become triggers for more of the past behavior. We wish Cassidy well on his journey to lasting recovery.

Dennis Rodman Checked Into Rehab For Alcoholism

Dennis RodmanFormer NBA star and reality TV regular Dennis Rodman, 52, recently checked himself into a rehabilitation program to deal with his ongoing problem with alcoholism. The treatment admission comes after his trip to North Korea and scrutiny for being extra friendly with Kim Jong Un.

Rodman blew up at a CNN reporter when questioned about an American being held captive in North Korea, then later apologized for his outburst and blamed it on his drinking problem.

According to People magazine, Rodman’s spokesperson Darren Prince said, “He is embarrassed, saddened and remorseful for the anger and hurt his words have caused.”

In addition to an earlier rehab stint back in 2008, Dennis Rodman appeared on a season of Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, but he appeared non-compliant and denied having a problem. Apparently, he was there for the exposure and because it was a paying gig. So far three of his cast members that season have passed away.

Hopefully, for his sake, the NBA Hall of Famer will take a look at the bigger picture and make some more positive choices to stick with his recovery this time around. It may take a major overhaul, though, as he recently launched his own brand of vodka.

Study Shows Alcohol Makes Everything Seem Intentional

pspbulletinHave you ever witnessed an altercation started by an accidental shoe scuffing or drink-spilling? Science explains why alcohol consumption sometimes leads to really pointless fights.

Recent findings prove that a drunken individual is more likely to perceive other people’s actions as being deliberate and intentional, rather than accidental. In a sober state, when given time, a person is more likely to think things through and consider all the reasons why something could have happened.

Interestingly enough, according to the brain’s natural intentionality bias, those who are forced to make snap judgments about the behavior of others more frequently infer intent compared to those who have more time to process the information and consider other possibilities.

It can be assumed that when under the influence, people make that default judgment where all actions are intentional, and the voice of reason is less likely to come along and interfere with that conclusion. You could say that the drinking judge’s verdict is more likely to be guilty.

In an experiment titled “There Is No Such Thing as an Accident, Especially When People are Drunk” published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, researchers report on a study of 92 male participants who are made to go three hours without food, then they are given a shot of wither juice or juice with more than a shot of pure alcohol. An alcohol coating on the rim of the glasses masked the placebos.

The men thought they were participating in a taste test. After 30 minutes of unrelated activities, the participants were asked to determine whether a series of deliberate, accidental or vague stated actions were deliberate or accidental.

Nearly all the participants, no matter what condition, judged all the unambiguous statements correctly. However, when the actions were ambiguous and could have been performed either intentionally or unintentionally, the “drunk” participants were much more likely to perceive the actions as deliberate than the sober participants were.

The experiment shows that despite whether the subject is aware of their drunken state, they are still less likely to judge behavior as being unintentional. This study certainly explains the high frequency of altercations and arguments in bars, at sporting events and on reality TV shows. It also gives additional insight to why other bad decisions are made when someone is under the influence of alcohol by showing how their thinking becomes distorted.